Healthcare Recruiting in a Challenging Market

July 14, 2010
Jill Schwieters

The biggest healthcare-recruiting challenge is finding, screening and qualifying the best candidates in a sea of applicants, and then attracting the right people. Some steps to take your recruiting approach to the next level.

Healthcare practices are faced with increasing pressure to control expenses, including labor costs, while improving the quality of patient care. To succeed you need access to the best talent through a combination of the latest technologies and recruiting techniques.

Today, the biggest healthcare-recruiting challenge is finding, screening and qualifying the best candidates in a much larger sea of applicants -- with the exception of clinical specialists who continue to be as hard to find as ever -- and then attracting the right practitioners to meet demand.

You need to be creative to secure the attention of today’s demanding candidates and you’ll need to apply multiple approaches to attract them. Some healthcare workers have gone digital and utilize third-party job boards, blogs, and your organization’s own career site in their search process. Others respond well to traditional methods of newspaper advertisements, career fairs or post cards.

Still others -- often the most talented individuals -- aren’t even looking for jobs because they are happily employed. To find these passive candidates, you need to leverage social networking sites and career portals so that they can meet these people and their peers through online discussion forums.

Good recruiting is not about just filling the position, but hiring the best possible candidate. To find the right person today, leading organizations must access a greater variety of methods.

Here are some steps to take your recruiting approach to the next level.

Technology in Today’s Recruiting World

Candidates today are more tech-savvy than ever before. Expertise in social networking and online research is a must for recruitment teams. Sites like FaceBook.com and LinkedIn.com, expand the potential to find active and passive job seekers. Technology also allows organizations to take their in-person recruitment techniques into the virtual world.

The introduction of virtual job fairs and video interviewing allows recruiters and hiring managers to meet qualified candidates and share job information before committing to an interview. Podcasts and video links are also an excellent way to share information with passive job seekers at their convenience.

Technology also delivers a much more efficient process, critical to recruiting in the current climate when the volume of candidates can become overwhelming. A common mistake is to let the wrong candidates get too far in their process. Today, even if you are hiring less, it’s likely that you have more applicants, and you’ll have to spend more time screening and responding to candidates for fewer positions. You need to adopt a recruiting model for processing a high volume of candidates, in a time of low job requisitions.

Building a Pipeline of Candidates

Successful organizations need to build pipelines of talent, which include passive individuals working in the field, as well as active job seekers. While sourcing job seekers is a good start for finding candidates, uncovering passive candidates online is a step many recruiting teams do not utilize. Passive recruiting is a process used to seek out potential applicants that meet a certain professional demographic, competency or educational background. Passive candidates may or may not be aware of the new opportunity or even interested in it. Building their interest level in the position is the key objective.

Utilizing Sales & Marketing Techniques

To attract candidates, organizations must also draw from those sales and marketing techniques typically used to reach patients and customers. To be effective you need to create brand awareness. It’s basic marketing; the key is to understand your audience and target them accordingly. If you understand your target audience and create compelling messaging that speaks to them, you will attract more qualified candidates that are a better fit with your organization’s mission and values.

Closing the Deal

Finally, once you have attracted the right candidate, the real work begins and you have to close the deal. With highly specialized healthcare professionals, the interview process has become a two-way street. While you are interviewing a prospect to fill a position, that candidate is also interviewing your organization and comparing you with other potential employers.

So make sure your organization is doing everything possible to create the best possible interview experience and first impression:

• deliver consistent messaging across all levels;

• communicate attributes that distinguish you from competitors and excite the candidate;

• convey an organized and supportive on-boarding approach; and

• sell your ‘career promise’ by illustrating how positive a work environment you offer.

Remember that the in-person interview may be your final competitive advantage over another organization. At the end of the day healthcare is all about people. How did you make the “people” you are interviewing feel about your organization?

Jill Schwieters is the president and founder of Pinstripe Healthcare, where she oversees the strategy for continual growth and maintains and builds relationships throughout the industry. She can be reached at JSchwieters@pinstripehealthcare.com.